When I went out to try to rake the leaves and dead grass to try to expose the soil on Saturday morning, I found the ground was frozen solid.
When my rake scratched the ground, it had a feel that’s comparable to scratching against stone. There was also a layer of ice on top of the soil and the dead grass as well as some of the fallen leaves was stuck on top, sort of like when you stick your tongue to a metal pole in the winter. So that official marked the end of my gardening chores for 2022, which means I now must reflect on the successes, failures, and any improvement-needed areas of my 2022 garden.
I initially wanted to do one post for this but discovered it was very long when I finished. So I’m doing a 2-parter. This is part 1 – Reflection on the garden.
2022 Garden size
I did a major expansion on the garden during fall 2021 by filling an existing L-shaped raised bed. I also added a 100-gallon grow bag, 2 30-gallon grow bags, and a few small grow bags. In 2021, I was growing out of 4 in-ground beds, 2 7-gallon grow bags, a 20-gallon and a 30-gallon grow bag, in which I had out-of-control volunteer tomatoes from 2020, grown cucumbers, a few failed bean plants, one zucchini, one crookneck yellow squash, and 2 tomato transplants which I purchased from the nursery.
Comparing the 2022 garden with the 2021 garden, it was similar in some ways while different in others.
What I grew in 2022
I feel like I grew so many things in 2022 yet so little. I know I had an abundance of green beans. Near the end, I was probably harvesting half to a pound of green beans each day. From mom’s constant complaints, I could tell she was sick of the beans.
2022 gardening season started with lots of leafy greens and peas. I absolutely loved them. I loved seeing the greens – bok choy, lettuces, spinach, and kale – in the garden as opposed to pretty much nothing during the winter. It was a welcome sight that spring was among us.
If I counted it right, I had about 23 tomato plants in 2022. I’m not sure if I planned to have this many tomatoes but it became obvious that it was too many near late summer. Unlike 2021 where there was nothing but cherry tomatoes, I had a 50-50 divide this year – 50% cherry-type tomatoes, 50% large tomatoes.
There was squash – the quintessential summer vegetable. I honestly didn’t think I would have squash in 2022. I planted a zucchini plant in the 100-gallon grow bag but the plant was somehow stunted. It never really got big and when it flowered, it failed to get pollinated, aka no squash. It wasn’t until I planted another plant in one of the in-ground beds that I started getting squashes, too many at one point.
The cucumber was the hardest to grow for 2022. I sowed the seeds directly into the soil and within less than 24 hours of the appearance of its first true leaves, the plant was gone, eaten by who-knows-what. It took a few tries before the plant finally took off. I also tried starting indoors and transplanting it once it got a little bigger, at first, same thing happened, but eventually, it took off and gave me quite a few pickling cucumbers.
I grew radishes and carrots, which I thought was a bit of a failure. The Napa cabbages was also a failure – the leaves were often chewed down to the stems. It also attracted an enormous amount of earwigs, which when one of its pincers pinches your finger, it hurts. Ouch!
Last but not least, the flowers. They add so much color to the garden and I’m looking forward to increasing the amount of flower in the garden for 2023.
Click here to go to Part 2 – Lesson Learned